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human origins

Man looking out to the cosmos. Credit: Kevin Carden / Adobe Stock

Our Cosmic Ancestry in the Stars: The Deepest Questions

Where have we come from? Where are we going? What are we here for? Is life unique to this rocky planet we call Earth? These are the deepest of philosophical questions and perhaps the very first that...
Skull of Malapa hominid 1 (MH1) from South Africa, named "Karabo". The combined fossil remains of this juvenile male is designated as the holotype for Australopithecus sediba.  Source: CC BY-SA 4.0

Statistical Date Analysis Concludes That 'Ancient Human' Was Not Our Ancestor

One of the great issues in all of science is the search for the direct ancestor of modern humans. Many species of hominin have been put forward down the years and a recently uncovered species...
Key images from the top human origins stories of 2018: Sophisticated tools and large, all-purpose handaxes from the Olorgesailie Basin in Kenya. (Human Origins Program, Smithsonian) Drawing of a Neandertal mother and a Denisovan father with their child, a girl, at Denisova Cave in Russia. (Petra Korlević) Neanderthal cave art in La Pasiega, Spain (C.D Standish, A.W.G. Pike and D.L. Hoffmann) Photograph of a footprint beside digitally-enhanced image of the same feature. (Duncan McLaren) The left hemi-maxilla

Five Things We Learned About Our Human Origins in 2018

The question of what makes us human is one that is fascinating to most of us, and for many the answer lies in looking back to our roots as a species. 2018 was a fantastic year for learning new and...
Representational image of human skeletons. The discovery of anomalous skeletons suggests humanity may be older than we think.

Ancient Anomalous Human Skeletons: Humanity Could be Much Older Than We Think

There are many reported human skeletal finds which are in discordance with current evolutionary beliefs dating back to anomalously ancient geological periods in the distant past, way before it is...
Native American Tiny 'Elephant Stones', Mammoth Effigies, Carvings, Totems From Pennsylvania. Portable rock art such as this has been found globally.

Life Before the Clovis: Portable Rock Art as Evidence of Pre Ice Age Humans in North America

The worship of carved stone dates back to man’s earliest evolution. Portable rock art is human made markings on movable natural rock or stone. A global phenomenon, these Stone Age objects have been...
A modern human, left, and Neanderthal woman, right.

Research Confirms that Neanderthal DNA Makes Up About 20% of the Modern Human Genome

Though it was disputed for many years, there is conclusive evidence that Neanderthals bred with modern humans (Homo sapiens). The first complete mapping of a Neanderthal genome took place about five...
Bigfoot in the Patterson-Gimlin Film.

Why the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film Should Concern Scholars of Human Origins

The anthropological sciences occasionally have to deal with something which has a profound but unexpected impact on our understanding of human origins. Two events are noteworthy, in part because both...
An illustration depicting the possible path of human evolution.

The Earliest Known Human Ancestor is a What?!

For those that believe human beings were created in God’s own image, the idea that we have monkeys in our evolutionary history is a little hard to swallow, so it is likely to cause even more upset...
The teeth found in the Fuyan Cave, located in southern China, in Daoxian, Hunan Province.

Teeth Discovered in China Show that Modern Humans Left Africa at Least 30,000 Years Earlier than Previously Thought

A team of Chinese and Spanish researchers say that at least 80,000 years ago there were Homo sapiens, with a completely modern appearance, already living in Asia. This assertion is based on the...
A portrait painted by John Cooke in 1915 showing scientists involved in the Piltdown man case: F. O. Barlow, G. Elliot Smith, Charles Dawson, Arthur Smith Woodward. Front row: A. S. Underwood, Arthur Keith, W. P. Pycraft, and Sir Ray Lankester.

Piltdown Man: The scandal that delayed the study of human origins by decades

For a long time in archaeology, and even in the popular media, there was discussion of a missing link in the archaeological/paleontological fossil record between apes and humans. In 1911, Englishman...
Left:  tooth which has had its genome sequenced, discovered in a Spanish cave. It belonged to a Neolithic farmer from 7400 years ago. Right: Cardium Pottery typical of the culture to which the Neolithic farmer is believed to have belonged.

4,700-Year-Old Tooth Provides Insight on the First Farmers of the Iberian Peninsula

Eight thousand years ago, the first farmer groups from the Middle East crossed the area currently known as Turkey and entered into Europe before branching out to follow two different routes: one...
Skull of Malapa hominid 1 (MH1) from South Africa, named "Karabo".

Preserved Tissue on 2-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor May be Oldest Skin Ever Found

A team of scientists investigating early human species in an ancient cave near Johannesburg, South Africa, have revealed that preserved tissue found on a 2-million-year-old fossil may be the oldest...
Altamura Man, surrounded by limestone deposits in the Grotta di Lamalunga

Calcified remains of Altamura Man yield oldest ever Neanderthal DNA sample

Just over two decades ago in the Grotta di Lamalunga, near the city of Altamura in Italy, a team of scientists discovered the remains of a prehistoric hominid branded ‘Altamura Man’. For years, the...
Researchers carrying out excavations in the Nihewan Basin

Archaeologists in China claim to have found two million-year-old stone toys

Researchers excavating an eroded basin in Hebei province, China, claim to have made a remarkable discovery - a two-million-year-old ‘playground’ of ancient hominids complete with stone artifacts...
Abstract image depicting creation of the universe and mankind

The awesome, terrible, and unknowable creator gods through history

All throughout history people have invoked gods of various kinds, including incomprehensibly strange creators. Crediting an almighty god as the creator of the universe is an acknowledgement that the...
A volcanic eruption

New study refutes theory that a volcano wiped out the Neanderthals

A new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco refutes a previous theory that Neanderthals became extinct due to a massive volcanic eruption about 40,...

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